The Algorithm – CRITICAL.ERROR – 3.5/5
Djentstep. Let me just give you a moment to swallow back down the vomit that slowly rose in the back of your throat; a catchy name that sounds like one of the biggest abominations to music since Brokencyde coined the genre “Crunkcore;” a combination of the detestable mind-numbing cyclical repetition of Dubstep and the repeated syncopated open notes that defines Djent. It barely sounds like there's enough actual substance here to make more than one song, and yet this mad Frenchman has managed to create an entire experimental album that sounds, if anything, just a little bit too batshit insane for it's own good. Take a dollop of Venetian Snares “2370894,” undeniably a touch of Genghis Tron's “Board up the House” and the catchy back beats from an Aphex Twin album, shaken all up with plenty of samples ranging from saxophones to Eminem, albeit I can't pick out the track sampled (“The Way I Am” perhaps?), and you probably have a better idea of what to expect.
There can be no denying that this album is treading into uncharted waters; the idea of Djent as a guitar tone has only really caught in the past few years so for someone to already be taking it into alien territory is a sign of how quickly it's finding new uses. The entire album is made using computers, and unlike some electronica he makes no attempt to disguise that fact. It's crisp and clean to the point that it induces a sci-fi like tone to it, and that goes for MIDI sampling used throughout; more than just the drums but the guitars and choral passages are recreated through samples, complementing the more conventional dubstep backdrop.
It's fascinating material and listening to it feels as though I'm stepping into the unknown, poking a stick at a Frankenstein-like experiment to create a monster that was never meant to be and then jumping back when he does something unexpected like asking how he could ever find love if his own creator can't bear the sight of him, not that I think this particular architect has this problem. In fact, if Frankenstein involved a doctor-experiment sex scene the whole book would probably reach a whole new pinnacle of nasty, yet that is the closest metaphor my mind can come up with. The problem arises when you listen to it a few times, you start to get to know the beast – I'm still running with this metaphor – and realise he's not some detestable monster but a living and breathing creation, you stop looking up at it in awe and fear for what it represents and start to see the cracks. “The Algorithm's” fundamental flaw is in actually trying to create Djentstep. It genuinely is a musical atrocity on its own and with too much reliance on these two highly repetitive musical styles, the mere fact he's managed to make something quite impressive feels like a miracle in itself. If these elements became downplayed in future releases, as it does for his magnum opus “Kernal,” where he finally lets the insanity out, then Dr. Strange might have found a new host. Until then, it's best we leave this experiment alone until the good doctor works out the kinks.
Over the years this has grown into my own personal project, reviewing the artists that I discover and interest me. If you wish to see more of my work, particularly my more metal-orientated material, you can find me as a regular contributor for the online magazine
Posted by T. Bawden Friday, 16 March 2012